As a means of sermon procrastination as well as early Friday Fiving (bending the ol’ Space-time continuum again), I offer this personal Friday Five in honour of my birthday earlier this month.

Five things I am glad I did this year (since my last birthday):

1. Went on retreat. Quite possibly the best six days of the year. I have waxed over-lyrical about this in the past, so I’ll forgo that this time.

2. Attended local clergy gatherings. A group of my denomination’s clergy gathers for lunch once a month. We’re actually very fortunate to be able to do this, since there aren’t many locations that have as many of us as this area. And the local presbytery of the UC has graciously included me in their gatherings as well, as all of them are affirming and supportive (and working to move their congregations in that direction). The mutual support and laughter (I will not mention certain items I was told could not appear in the blog, even though it would be very funny…) and the sense that I am not alone after all make these gatherings an oasis in the month.

3. Attending denominational conference in the fall. I learned, I worshiped, I deepened newer friendships, and refreshed long-term ones, I worked my tail off…it was wonderful. Even if it looks like it’s going to have to come out of my own pocket after all, it was worth it.

4. Began focusing on my continuing education/professional reading/serious reading (call it what you will). I’ve read several of those “I’ve always meant to read that” books. I’ve loved some, hated others, argued with some, reread some, and in general had a rousing time.

5. Socializing more. I’ve been cultivating friendships outside the church, with folks who frankly have no intention of ever darkening the door of the church. And that’s OK. They are my friends, not potential members. And that’s the way I like them. This may be heretical, but I frankly don’t care if they come to church or not—that’s not why I hang out with them. I am not trying to convert them—I just like them and enjoy their conversation. I’m getting to know more and more people in the community, and I’m enjoying it. I don’t need to always be “the pastor” I scolded on of my friends the other night for introducing me as “Rev RP.” I told him, “Just RP.”

Five things I hope to do in the next year:

1. Move forward with my plan for a doctoral program. I’m still doing research…and thn I need to take the GREs…and put together some applications…

2. Go on another retreat. It may be in August, or possibly in October again. We’ll see.

3. Continue to expand and deepen my friendships. It’s so amazing to me when an acquaintance sparks and becomes something more—a friendship. I love it and I intend to nourish those friendships as especially precious.

4. Move more. I have days when the only movement I do is up and down the stair, from my desk to the kitchen to the living room and back gain. Maybe I take the dog outside, This is bad. I hope to walk, to garden, and just maybe hike. We’ll see about the last one.

5, Read even more. Hey, stop laughing! You know who you are…just stop it. I have so many books I am half-way through…I really want to get them finished.

And no, I’m not telling you which birthday it was. It wasn’t a “round” one, that’s all I’m saying.

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